The Clocks, by Agatha Christie
Will Poirot find the killer before time runs out?
The premise: the dead body of a stranger is found in the apartment of a blind woman who was not at home when the crime occurred. Next to the body are four clocks, not running, and all set to the same time. Detective Inspector Hardcastle investigates with the assistance of young Colin Lamb, a secret agent of sorts, who also happens to be a good friend of renowned detective, Hercule Poirot.
This is a very complicated mystery with lots and lots (and LOTS) of things that are not as they appear. Some might call it convoluted but I prefer the phrase “skillfully plotted”. It is a refreshing change from the sort of formulaic mysteries so popular today, offering the reader/viewer a real challenge in matching wits with the detectives and coming to the right conclusion. Was the murder connected with a ring of foreign spies and stolen secrets, or is it a case of spurned love and a crime of passion? Are the suspects who they claim to be, or does everyone have a secret or two to conceal? Every page seems to reveal a new twist in this suspenseful whodunit.
There are minor differences between the book and the Agatha Christie’s Poirot televised adaptation. A few plot lines are completely left out of the latter, but this does not alter the mystery or its conclusion in any way. I imagine this particular Christie novel was a rather difficult story to adapt to the screen, since Poirot (deftly portrayed by David Suchet) does not come into the story until about halfway through the book, but this episode is a good adaptation and remains true to the original novel in all the most important aspects of it. Those who watch the episode first and then read the book will find that there are still some surprises left to uncover.
Possibly my favorite part of the novel is that it delves into interesting details on the life of Hercule Poirot that add to the fascination generations of readers have with this endearing and intriguing character.
The Clocks is a quick read for a Christie, and one that is perfect for a rainy weekend curled up on a couch, or a leisurely vacation take-along. ~ Donna, Sparrow Falls Mystery